…. because you’re sweet enough!
(welcome to my 3 month – 3 week – or 3 day ‘cut the sugar’ challenge!)
Well hello my sweet sweet friends! You can’t argue here, because I know very well – you’re sweet enough!
Did you know that SUGAR is the number one addiction in North America? We often think of addictions as some kind of uncontrolled high from drugs or other stimulants. Well, sugar is just that. It’s a legal drug!
Sugar affects opioids and dopamine in the brain, and thus might be expected to have addictive potential. “Bingeing,” “withdrawal,” “craving” and “cross-sensitization” are each given operational definitions and demonstrated behaviorally with sugar bingeing as the reinforcer. These behaviors are then related to neurochemical changes in the brain that also occur with addictive drugs. Of course, the sugar industry claims that similar effects have been reported for rats given solutions that tasted sweet, but contained no calories. However, caloric value may not be the issue. Sugar and the taste of sweet stimulate the brain by activating beta endorphin receptor sites. These are the same chemicals activated by heroin and morphine. Crazy! Am I right? And meanwhile, you’re already twitching from a craving of your sugary drug!
Current Sugar Guidelines
Here are some crazy facts about just exactly how much sugar we are consuming on average. On average, Canadians and Americans consume approximately 110 grams of sugar a day, the equivalent of 26 teaspoons. Recently, the American Heart Association published recommended limits for intake of added sugars as a means to help reduce risk for heart disease. The current recommended limits for added sugars are:
100 calories for women (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)
150 calories for men (38 grams or 9 teaspoons)
A single can of coke has approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar – that certainly puts you way over the whole day’s dose, and that’s just with one beverage.
Added vs. Natural Sugar?
The guidelines specifically refer to added sugars: table sugar, honey, natural syrups (e.g. agave, maple, and molasses), commercial syrups (e.g. high fructose corn syrup), and concentrated fruit sugars added to foods to sweeten or preserve. The naturally occurring sugars in milk, fresh fruit, dried and frozen fruit without added sugar and 100% fruit juice are not considered added sugars. Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are also not considered added sugars.
But there is a catch, research shows that artificial sweeteners are dangerous to your health!
Sugar grams listed on the Nutrition Facts panels of most food products include both naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. This might change in the future with a new labeling law, but for now, you have to look at the ingredient list to find added sugars. Names for added sugars are numerous. (click below the break to read a whole list of sugar in other forms).
It is easy to identify regular soda pop and energy drinks as examples of empty calories, but what about sugary foods and drinks that also have nutrients? Choose brands that have less added sugar than their rivals. Or, select unsweetened versions. See the list below for nutritious foods that often have too much added sugar:
“Natural Sugars” include:
- milk (lactose)
- fruit (fructose, sucrose)
- carbohydrates such as pasta, bread
“Added (free) Sugars” include:
The healthiest options:
Eliminate Hidden and Artificial Sugars
When purging your kitchen, be on the look out for these names:
- table sugar (refined, processed sugars from cane, beet – sucrose – added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer)
- corn sugar (glucose)
- corn syrup
- high-fructose corn syrup commonly added to fruit juices
- sugars ending in “ol” or “ose”
The worst lil’ white devils! These descriptions are taken from Dr Oz’s website – I’m thinking that he doesn’t want any lawsuits from Splenda or the other brands so he mentions a few good points and he’s done with it! Wrong! In my research Sucralose, Aspertame and Saccharin are very dangerous chemicals. If you want to get healthier – do yourself a favour and never consume these and never allow your family especially kids to have these.
- Sucralose (includes Splenda brand) – What it claims: It is 500 times sweeter than sucrose, stored in body fats, and does not affect blood sugar levels. Its use is too new to know the long-term effects, but it appears the most promising and is the best one for cooking. Note : Do not consume. Enough research is out there to prove it is not safe.
- Aspartame (includes Equal, Nutrasweet brands) – Several studies have found it has adverse health effects. This sweetener stays in your body longest, and it cannot be heated – or it turns into formaldehyde. Note : Do not consume. Enough research is out there to prove it is not safe.
- Saccharin (includes Sweet’N Low brand) – Long-term data suggest it may be one of the safest sweeteners, even if some of the data is not positive. Note : Do not consume. Enough research is out there to prove it is not safe.
Let’s not sugar-coat things. Know your risks:
1. High Blood Pressure – Normal nitric oxide levels keep blood vessels healthy and open. Too much sugar in your diet decreases nitric oxide levels, causing blood vessels to become narrow, which causes high blood pressure and an increased risk for cardiac disease.
2. High Cholesterol – People who consume too much sugar are more likely to have lower levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, higher levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, and higher levels of triglycerides, or blood fats. This clogs up arteries and blood vessels, leading to heart disease.
3. Liver Disease – A diet high in sugar is believed to exacerbate fatty liver disease. Too much sugar spikes insulin and drives fat into the liver cells, which causes inflammation and scarring, eventually causing the liver to become cirrhotic.
4. Insulin Resistance – When sugar enters the body, insulin opens the door to allow sugar into the cells. However, when there are continuous sugar spikes, insulin becomes less effective. Sugar can’t get into the cells and become “stuck” in the body, producing toxic effects that lead to obesity and the threat of diabetes.
I turned my health around from a devastating disease, as I have frequently mentioned here on this blog. Many people now ask me how can I help them start getting healthier themselves. Cutting the sugar is the honest answer as to how I started getting healthier. You can get your health back too.
And even though you’re not sick, that doesn’t always mean that you’re healthy.
Try this. From my nurturing heart to you – this is my gift. No fees, no strings attached. All I need is a bit of your dedication and will power.
Essentially, I would like this to be a lesson for both me and you to make good decisions when it comes to sugar intake. There are lots of confusing choices out there. But first, the best thing you can do for your body is to go on a sugar-detox. Hence the need for the 3 month challenge. (or however long you can do it for)
My sugar-detox challenge, will help you overcome your cravings and make you feel healthier and happier. You will feel more energized and in control of your body and mind. Your body will heal from any possible health issues you may have and help you prevent many health problems later.
Here are the 8 Guidelines to follow your Sugar-Detox. It’s not complicated at all, you can do this and your body will thank you for it with more vitality, energy and even appearance in your skin! (just before summer! Yeah)
1. Purge all your kitchen sugar items, either discard or put in a bin and let someone else more responsible in your household to hide it from sight.
2. No cheating! Look at that bowl of cereal closely too, how much sugar is in it anyway? Judge honestly – don’t cheat. That also means no baking your favourite cookies and having home-made desserts. (ok, you can cheat here just a little, on a special occasion – once a week is ok if you do the full 3 month challenge). But cut down the recipe by even 1/2 the sugar it calls for in the recipe. And substitute all purpose flour which turns to glucose aka sugar anyway for something with more nutrition and added value to your meal.
3. When shopping for new items, look out for the hidden and artificial sweetners and just make a conscious decision to NOT purchase any sugary products – other than Fruit!
4. You will crave, get moody, kick and scream when you remember your ‘fix’. Do not think about what you’re giving up, instead, think of all the good things you’re adding to your body. Removing unhealthy sugary products, leaves room for more veggies and more healthy foods.
5. Do prepare yourself some healthy snacks when the cravings to come in. Have a healthy stash of snacks that you can have in between meals like almonds, nuts and seeds. A spoonful of unsweetened almond butter in between meals Dried fruit – with NO artificial sweeteners or preservatives added. Organic if possible or better yet, dehydrate fresh organic apples and pears for a great snack time for the whole family.
6. Fresh fruit is acceptable but make sure you have fresh fruit on an empty stomach in between meals, and just a small serving at a time. Do not have any fresh fruit close to bedtime – and never bananas.
7. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla or allspice to your tea or coffee, cereals and baked goods – this will help to fool your taste buds and help you control your cravings.
8. Beverages – drink water! In fact, make it a point to drink filtered or boiled but cooled water more frequently. Try switching up the variety and have a mineral water like Perrier. If you must have juice, choose a good quality natural juice – better yet juice yourself. The best way to still get lots of vitamins from fruit is to eat the whole fruit.
9. Taking this sugar-detox plunge will leave room for healthier alternatives – have more salads and veggies. Fresh organic baby carrots and other conveniently cut up veggie sticks can be left in a bowl on the kitchen counter for everyone to grab on the go or can be packed up for work or school. Make conscious decisions to replace all that sugar with better choices!
10. Make this a lifestyle change not just a challenge. Stick it out through the suggested 3 months! Highly recommended to bring your health back. Make the decisions daily to Cut the Sugar, sugar! Remember, you’re sweet enough!
I encourage everyone to think about this challenge and to join in for however long you can. If you can do the 3 full months. Great. To lessen the challenge, try 3 weeks – or even 3 days just to test your own will power. You will still reap with health benefits and your body and mind will thank you for it.
I would appreciate any support of this challenge to spread the word about sugar awareness. You can grab the ‘Cut the Sugar, Sugar!’ button up above and share on your blog’s sidebar or click Like to share on your facebook.
You can join anytime throughout March – June. For how long, is your own choice. Three months is most beneficial.
You choose: 3 months. 3 weeks. 3 days
Good Luck my friends. I will be here for support and to answer any questions you might have. Throughout the 3 months March – June, you may contact me via the comments in this post, or by email ella(at)lifeologia(dot)com
Ps. I’m also doing this challenge so I will be following my own rules ;) This will be fun!
Ahh just writing this made me crave chocolate! ;D HA!
*sending big supportive hugs*
YOU’RE SWEET ENOUGH!
Do you have intense cravings that could almost be described as addictive? How do you handle sugar cravings? What’s in your sugary ‘stash’ right now?
One way to find out if you have a very intense uncontrolled sweet tooth, is to take a challenge like this even for just a few days and see how you handle it. If you do see yourself craving sugar uncontrollably – that’s even a bigger reason for you to go on the Sugar-Detox challenge.
FAQ – is chocolate allowed? Yes, kind of. But make sure it’s all natural, non dairy, 70% dark cocoa is allowed. But only two squares per day!
Still not convinced why you should cut down on sugar? read more…..